The U.S. Supreme Court revealed last week that it would consider a case where two men argued that domestic abuse should not prohibit them from owning guns if the violence was not “reckless.”
According to SCOTUSblog, the court will take a look at Voisine v. United States, which seeks to overturn a federal law called the Lautenberg Amendment that prevents convicted domestic abusers from owning firearms.
Stephen Voisine and William Armstrong, both from Maine, assert in the suit that the federal law should not apply to them because Maine’s domestic abuse law can include reckless or unintentional behavior.
Documents indicated that Voisine pleaded guilty to “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly” causing “bodily injury or offensive physical contact” after slapping his girlfriend while intoxicated in 2003. The woman reportedly told police that it was not the first time Voisine had hit her.
The Wall Street Journal reported that authorities were alerted to the fact that Voisine illegally owned a gun after someone turned him in for shooting a bald eagle. It was thought to be the first bald eagle killing since the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act was signed by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1940.
Armstrong had also pleaded guilty to domestic abuse for pushing his wife against a wall and leaving a “red mark.”
Both men contend that the federal law was only intended for people who abuse their partners in a premeditated attempt to cause serious bodily injury. The government, however, insists that the law was meant to cover all types of domestic violence.
The Trace noted that Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who sponsored the legislation, envisioned that the legislation would apply to an abuser who attacks his partner “almost without knowing what he is doing.”
The court declined to hear another part of the case that argued all domestic abusers had a right to own firearms under the Second Amendment.